Brew Your Own Kombucha

A tutorial by Jessa Stevens from Inspired Brews in Philadelphia on how to take your (healthy) addiction to the next level.

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Making Your First Kombucha


½-gallon glass vessel

Linen cloth

Rubber band

Wooden spoon


3-inch SCOBY

½ gallon brewed green or black tea (using two tablespoons of tea)

½ cup organic sugar

Before you can start your own small-batch kombucha empire—or, you know, just save yourself some cash by making it yourself—you'll need to whip up your first "mother" batch. This is the kombucha starter that feeds every batch you'll ever make, forever and ever. Of course, you'll need to keep adding to it after every batch you bottle. (Bacteria gets hungry, just like you.)

See how happy kombucha makes you?
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Now, it's time to get acquainted with what makes kombucha the healthy, fizzy, probiotic wonder that you love so much: SCOBY, or symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. But SCOBY has a nicer ring to it, right? And, like everything in the world, you can order a SCOBY online before getting started with your kombucha making.

The Mother Batch

SCOBYs are insatiable.
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Add a 3-inch (and 3mm-thick) piece of SCOBY into a ½-gallon glass jar, along with a ½ gallon of freshly brewed green or black tea that has a ½ cup of organic sugar dissolved into it. Stir everything together until combined.

Secure the glass jar with a linen cloth and rubber band to tightly secure.

Sealed and secured. Now it's time to let the real magic happen.

Let that brew and ferment at room temperature for two weeks.

Bottling Your First Batch


One-quart swing-top bottle

Wooden spoon



½ gallon brewed green or black tea (using two tablespoons of tea)

½ cup organic sugar

½ cup fruit juice (or ¼ cup fruit puree) for flavoring

Don't worry—all that sugar gets eaten by the SCOBY.

Here's where you tap into that mother batch of kombucha you made two weeks ago. And since you'll need to replenish it after bottling, brew another ½ gallon batch of green or black tea, then slowly dissolve the ½ cup of sugar into the mix.

How to Bottle

Stevens uses fresh fruit here, but we recommend starting your first batch with juice.

Add your ½ cup of fruit flavoring into your swing-top liter bottle. The flavoring of your kombucha is where you're allowed to get creative. "Fruit, herbs, and spices, or a combination of the three, are a really nice way to flavor kombucha," says Stevens. Even whole fruit is an option, too. (Some of the seasonal flavors currently on offer at Inspired Brews, Stevens's Philadelphia kombucha shop, include peach and blueberry with basil, and pineapple with mint, lemongrass, and ginger.)

Once you've made a few batches, you can get all fancy.

After you've added the ½ cup of fruit flavoring, fill the remaining space left in the bottle with your pre-made kombucha. (Using a funnel makes this job a lot easier!) Just make sure to leave enough room to tightly shut the swing top.

You'll be glad you bought that funnel.

This will leave roughly 10% of your starter batch, so replenish the vessel with the ½ gallon of sugary tea you just brewed. You'll have to wait another week for the fermentation to do its thing before your next bottling.

Let your swing-top bottle sit at room temperature for secondary fermentation for one day, then put it in the fridge to chill and enjoy later.

For more on Inspired Brews, see

From: Seventeen
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